Throughout the history of early childhood education educators have used various theorists’ theories to develop children’s learning and development. One of the most significant theories is the socio-cultural theory by Vygotsky. His theory consists of how private speech is used by children and the importance of the zone of proximal development. Vygotsky’s theory is well used in the education environment today and educators use it to be able to provide activities that aren’t too difficult for the children to engage in. Therefore Vygotsky’s theory has enabled educators to have a better understanding of how children learn and develop.
Lev Vygotsky’s life began on 1896 in Orscha, Belarus, he was born into a Russian- Jewish family. Vygotsky had won a place at the University of Moscow in 1913 which is where he received a degree in law and a specialisation in literature. After completing his degree he taught children and adults a variety of subject areas. He became then interested in children with learning difficulties and intellectual disabilities. Through this event he was invited to join the Institute of Psychology in Moscow. Vygotsky moved there and began a collaboration with two other Russian psychologists. They in turn developed a ‘cultural-historical’ or ‘sociocultural’ view of human development that looked in depth of cognitive activities (Duchesne S, et al, 2013). Vygotsky’s theory therefore was established from his past experiences and his interests in children’s development.
Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory is one of the key theories that early childhood educators implement in their practices. In his theory he emphasises the significance that language plays in children’s development (Pound L, 2012). Although Piaget’s theory touched on ‘private speech’, Vygotsky disagreed with Piaget’s understanding of what private speech is, Vygotsky sees private speech as ‘speaking to themselves for self-guidance’ (Berk L, 2013) and also ‘a tool for regulating or guiding their actions’ (Pound L, 2012). Children use private speech, when the task is appropriately challenged or when they are confused about how to continue on with the task (Berk L, 2013). He believed that by about the age of 7 private speech becomes internalised, except when tasks are difficult (Pound L, 2012). It has then been shown that young children verbalise to themselves in times when tasks are difficult or when they are confused about the task according to Vygotsky.
Another essential point is Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development and the reasoning behind Vygotsky developing the zone of proximal development. He describes zone of proximal development as a range of tasks that are too difficult for the child to do by themselves but possible with the help of adults and more skilled peers (Berk L, 2012). The zone of proximal development was introduced by Vygotsky to be able to ‘speak to two separate educational issues’, these issues were ‘children’s appraisal and instructional assessment’...